One of the many tropes of (toxic) masculinity is that men just aren’t as sensitive as women. They don’t get their feelings as hurt as easily, and supposedly, they’re not as offended by subtle remarks. But as one TikToker has been proving again and again over the last year, there’s a seemingly endless list of harmless statements a person can make that will, in fact, upset men.
In September 2021, comedian Kyle Prue posted a TikTok with the caption, “This one is for my ladies… if you ever want to piss of a man, tell him that he seems like the kind of guy who when he sleeps, goes, *snores* memememememe.”
Immediately, people began asking for more examples of things to say that would piss off men. “Need more statements like this to say to my friends’ boyfriends,” one woman wrote.
And so, from there, Prue kicked off a series that now has over a dozen parts, all consisting of various one-liners to pull out for the sake of upsetting a guy. Some examples include: “You remind me of James Corden,” “Do you cut your own hair?” and “I love your Spanx,” to be deployed when a guy is wearing compression shorts.
The gist here is to gaslight men into being self-conscious about themselves. These sorts of statements and questions force them to reflect upon what kind of impression they give off — even if a guy doesn’t act like James Corden, it would undoubtedly force him to pause and reconsider his whole persona if he was told they shared any similarities.
Often, Prue’s suggestions require taking on a sort of girly ignorance, like saying “I love the Celtics” with a hard C, or suggesting that a guy’s YouTube/Twitch streaming habit is akin to iCarly. The former requires you to intentionally mispronounce something, while the latter implies your worldview is limited to Nickelodeon shows. The key, of course, is utilizing a deadpan delivery, one that suggests it would be far more embarrassing for the man to correct you or explain himself, because you don’t care either way.
Throughout the comments of Prue’s videos are women who have either tried these lines for themselves or found similarly effective ones of their own. “I once asked a guy, ‘Were you one of those kids that still had to go to speech classes in middle school?’ and then acted surprised when he said no,” one woman wrote.
“‘I’ll just Google it.’ Say this whenever they try to explain something, especially when you’re just existing in front of them. They hate that,” added another.
At one point, Prue mentions that some guys have also asked him for examples of things to say to upset women. “If you’re the type of dude to ask for this, I imagine everything you say is upsetting to women, so you don’t need my help at all. Just be yourself, king,” he responds sarcastically.
This highlights a crucial point to the whole series — it’s not about just arbitrarily upsetting people, but challenging notions we have about gender and emotion. It’s not that difficult to upset anyone, regardless of gender, despite stereotypes of masculinity claiming otherwise. Really, it doesn’t matter who you are — nobody wants to be told they’re like James Corden.